The passing of the Inflation Reduction Act on August 7th is a tremendous win for the Democrats, who have been repeatedly attempting to push climate change bills into the public eye. With the chaos that is the US government right now, climate change hasn’t exactly been at the forefront of American minds, but luckily Senators Chuck Schumer of New York and Joe Manchin of West Virginia have fulfilled their promise to enact new policies that will make at least some environmental difference.
Americans will now be granted tax credits for purchasing energy efficient appliances and vehicles, incentivizing more people to make small changes in their everyday lives in order to slow down the rapid progression of climate change. “Small changes” like taking shorter showers, turning off the lights when you leave a room, recycling, and cutting out meat have all been advertised for years as methods to help the environment that you, as one person, can make. However, if we have learned anything from living in this extreme capitalistic economy, it is that Americans tend to not change their personal lifestyles unless there is something tangible in it for them. NPR shared that “Homeowners who front the cost of energy efficiency improvements, from new doors and windows to more efficient appliances, would be able to claim up to $1,200 a year or 30% of the total cost at tax time,” therefore compelling more people to finally make the switch.
While we have already been the source of some irreversible damage to the planet and atmosphere, with the ozone layer beginning to deplete over 40 years ago, the federal government is spending a hefty $430 billion “to reduce greenhouse gas emissions” through this bill, which is certainly a step in the right direction. During the Trump Administration from 2016-2020, no progress was made to combat climate change, with New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Green New Deal’ completely dismissed by the Republican Party. Now, under the Biden Administration, Democrats are doing all they can to make up for lost time on the global warming front, and with any luck, the Inflation Reduction Act will be the environmental savior we have been yearning for.